Coffee Panna Cotta Dessert Cups



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These coffee panna cotta dessert cups are a luxurious no bake dessert. With a creamy base, lightly flavored espresso syrup and melt in your mouth texture, they are the ultimate coffee lover’s dessert.

In my espresso panna cotta recipe I show you step by step, with photos, how to make panna cotta at home. It’s surprisingly quick and easy to prepare ahead of time, so if you’re looking for make ahead dessert ideas that will impress, this coffee flavored panna cotta recipe is definitely worth it!

spoonful of coffee panna cotta held above cup.

Why You’ll Love My Coffee Panna Cotta Dessert Cups

Individual desserts in a cup are such an ingenious way to prepare sweets. Whether you’re entertaining a crowd or planning dinner with friends, they’re a great way to simplify your preparation and cooking time.

The flavored panna cotta is topped with an espresso syrup. The syrup has a subtle sweet flavor thanks to the addition of a little honey and vanilla. When combined with the creamy panna cotta underneath, it’s a dreamy combination for anyone who loves coffee.

If you, like me, have avoided making desserts with gelatin in the past, don’t worry! With a few handy tips (that I share below) it really isn’t that difficult and the results with this coffee panna cotta recipe using gelatin powder are fantastic.

And finally, my coffee panna cotta cups are set and served in the cup! So there’s no tricky unmoulding in this espresso panna cotta recipe.

If you love coffee desserts, you could also make a creamy coffee mousse, these fun coffee popsicles or my easy coffee granita.

coffee panna cotta desserts in individual cups.

Espresso Panna Cotta Ingredients

Let’s take a quick look at the ingredients that make this creamy and luscious coffee dessert.

For the full ingredient list with quantities, scroll down to the recipe card below.

  • Whole Milk: I always tend to use whole milk in my dessert recipes. You could substitute low fat milk, but is there any point?
  • Heavy Cream: An essential ingredient to create the silky, creamy texture.
  • Strong Brewed Coffee: A batch of strong brewed coffee gives the panna cotta base it’s rich coffee flavor. You can make a batch in your drip coffee maker, french press or even a moka pot.
  • Powdered sugar: Also known as confectioners sugar or icing sugar, you could also use superfine sugar, but you may need to heat it a little longer to ensure it fully dissolves.
  • Gelatin Powder: The essential ingredient to set the mixture. Be sure to use an unflavored gelatin powder.
  • Espresso: For the espresso syrup. If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can substitute instant coffee granules (see the recipe card below for details).
  • Honey and Vanilla: Added to the espresso to create a lovely sweet espresso syrup. You can substitute maple syrup for the honey but don’t omit the vanilla – it really does add an extra dimension of flavor.
top view of espresso panna cotta with and without espresso flavored syrup on top.

How To Make Coffee Panna Cotta At Home

My coffee flavored panna cotta is super easy to make. You’ll need a medium saucepan, a small bowl, a whisk, and your serving glasses. Here’s a quick overview of how to make coffee panna cotta.

For the full recipe and ingredient list, scroll down to the printable recipe card.

Step 1 – Prepare the gelatin. The first step is to soften the gelatin powder so it dissolves more easily in your mixture. This is a really important step and shouldn’t be skipped to save time!

The best way to do this is to sprinkle the gelatin powder over the cold milk in a medium sized saucepan for a 3 – 5 minutes. The gelatin will absorb some of the liquid and the milk will appear slightly wrinkled on top.

Step 2 – Warm your panna cotta ingredients. Now you want to warm the milk and stir the gelatin in order for it to dissolve. The secret here is to use a gentle heat and gradually warm the milk. The mixture should not boil, and should only be just warm. It should take just 2-3 minutes.

Once your milk is just warm, add the sugar and stir to dissolve and combine. This should take only a minute or so if using powdered sugar. Next add the cream and coffee, stir to combine and warm slightly, then remove from the heat.

Carefully pour the mixture into 4 serving glasses and place in the refrigerator to set for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

top view of saucepan with panna cotta ingredients.
process shot of cups filled with panna cotta mixture.

Step 3 – Prepare the espresso syrup. To make the espresso syrup, simply combine the cooled espresso, honey and vanilla in a small bowl. Stir and set aside until you are ready to serve the panna cotta espresso desserts.

Step 4 – Serve your panna cotta dessert cups. When you’re ready to serve your panna cotta pudding, bring them out of the fridge, divide the espresso syrup between the 4 glasses and gently pour over the top.

white bowl with ingredients to make espresso syrup.
pouring espresso syrup on top of coffee flavored panna cotta dessert.

How To Serve Coffee Pannacotta

As these are set in the individual dessert cups, there is no need to unmould onto a plate but you could serve your panna cotta with some extra toppings such as:

  • A sprinkle of chocolate shavings
  • A small dollop of cream
  • Some berries served on the side.

How To Store Coffee Flavored Panna Cotta

You can make the panna cotta cups ahead of time and store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Unfortunately the recipe is not suitable for freezing.

side top view of coffee panna cotta dessert up topped with espresso syrup.

Recipe Tips For Success

  1. Bloom the gelatin: Allow time for the gelatin powder to bloom before heating the milk. This will ensure it fully dissolves and the pudding sets properly.
  2. Plan ahead of time: This panna cotta coffee dessert needs at least 6 hours to set.
  3. Cool the espresso syrup: The syrup need to be room temperature before pouring on top of the panna cotta.

More Coffee Dessert Recipes

I hope you enjoy making this easy coffee panna cotta recipe. For more great coffee dessert ideas you might like to try:

Or browse all my coffee dessert recipes.

Did you make this recipe? Please rate the recipe and join me on Facebook and Pinterest for more tasty coffee recipes.

two dessert cups filled with coffee panna cotta with espresso syrup.

Coffee Panna Cotta

This coffee panna cotta is a luxurious creamy dessert for coffee lovers. Served in individual cups and drizzled with a flavored espresso syrup, these coffee dessert cups are one of the best make ahead desserts.
4.41 from 5 votes
Servings: 4 serves
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 20 minutes


For the panna cotta:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup strong brewed coffee
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Gelatin powder unflavored

For the espresso syrup:

  • 4 tablespoons espresso approx. 2 shots
  • 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Panna Cotta

  • In a small saucepan sprinkle the gelatin powder over the cold milk and leave to bloom for 3-5 minutes until wrinkly on top.
  • Gently heat the milk for 2-3 minutes or until just warm, stirring occasionally to dissolve the gelatin.
  • Add the sugar to the saucepan and stir for 1 – 2 minutes until dissolved.
  • Add the cream and brewed coffee to the saucepan, stir to combine and simmer gently for 1 – 2 minutes.
  • Pour the coffee panna cotta mixture into 4 serving glasses and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

Espresso Syrup

  • In a small bowl combine the honey, espresso and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Cool in the fridge until needed.
  • When ready to serve, spoon 1 tablespoon of the espresso syrup over each panna cotta cup and enjoy.


  1. Ensure you bloom the Gelatin over cold milk – this will help it dissolve more easily once you heat the milk.
  2. Be careful not to boil the milk – it should be just warm.
  3. If you don’t have an espresso machine, substitute 1 teaspoon of instant coffee granules dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water for the espresso in the syrup.
  4. Ensure the espresso syrup is fully cooled before pouring over the espresso panna cotta.


Serving: 1serve | Calories: 391kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 72mg | Potassium: 263mg | Fiber: 0.01g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 1072IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 193mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Rachel Rodda
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Did You Make This?Leave a comment and let me know how it was!

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coffee panna cotta dessert with text describing recipe.
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Rachel Rodda

It's no surprise that as a former barista and founder of Creators of Coffee, I'm obsessed with all things coffee. I love to share easy and delicious coffee recipes, expert brewing tips and helpful coffee gear reviews with my fellow coffee lovers!
4.41 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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